1. Tell us who are you and what did you do in Italy before leaving.
I am a Tuscan girl from Prato, I am 40 years old. I worked as an architect in Italy, in a practice that I even enjoyed. After my University’s degrees I started working in various architectural practices. I worked in 4 of them between Florence and Prato, and in some of them I was working for free…because, we have to “rise through the ranks”. Going at work earning nothing, and on the contrary having to spend money for travelling around it’s not that nice and step by step it takes out all your will and energy. The last practice where I worked, I was payed at last..but with the Italian times. Unluckily the economical crisis doesn’t help and because of that I didn’t see neither one of the projects I was working on becoming true. That’s why I decided to try somewhere else. It was a long time I was thinking about it, and at the end I made my decision and I left Italy. I wanted to find my energy, my passion and will to challenge myself again.
2. Why did you choose England between all the countries?
English is the only other language I already spoke enough well. Furthermore I had the possibility to be host by my English friend’s family. He was moving back to England for my same reasons, after living in Italy for seven years. Without their help it would have been a lot more difficult.
3. What do you suggest to Italians before their departure to England?
I think that the language is really important, both to integrate yourself in the place you’ll go, and to find a job. Unluckily, because of the economical crisis, it’s not easy finding a job and it becomes almost impossible without speaking English.
Other really important thing is being willing to accept a different culture. Even if the English culture is not that different from the Italian one, there are some dissimilarities and it is your duty learning, understanding and respecting them. Don’t finger-point what you don’t like, but search for what you like, so to enjoy your experience at its best.
4. What do you do in England?
I’m working for “Next Plc”, a British multinational clothing and home products retailer. I lived about one year in Yorkshire with my friend’s family and there I found work both at Next (in one of their clothing’s store in a big shopping center in Sheffield) and at an entertainment centre for children, where I was organising craft workshops. Since Christmas I moved to Cambridge, because I had the opportunity to be transferred in one of the home products Next’s stores…I hope step by step to get closer to architecture! In addition after Easter I should start organising craft workshops for the bilingual Italian-English children who live here around. In my free time I continue taking my Curricula to the architects and I create objects that I sell in my online shop (laubao.dawanda.com).
5. Main differences between Italy and England, both in the work and social environment.
English society is multicultural. And we all have the same possibilities. Here in England you can find people of every race, culture, age and religion working in prominent roles in banks, supermarkets, ateliers and offices. If you are capable, you can “make your way”. If I was in Italy I could have never worked in a shop, like I’m doing now, because I am “too old and without experience” in that field. Even if this is not the job that I dreamed to do, I feel respected and appreciated, and this is giving me the possibility to gain experience, improving my English and integrate myself in this country. Social life is really similar to the Italian one. People go out to do shopping, to drink with their friends, for a walk, or going at the cinema…exactly like in Italy..and obviously here there will be always an opportunity!
6. What do you miss about Italy?
My family, my friends. Since I’m here in Cambridge, the sight of mountains, too.
7. What could an Italian do in England?
I would say that an Italian that speak English well, can do everything. It he is capable, he can start with a junior position and making his way to the highest roles. Unluckily today everything is complicated by the economical crisis and there are not many positions available.
8. Are there many Italians in England?
Yes, especially in London. Here in Cambridge there are quite a lot too, a lot less in Yorkshire.
9. Tell us a story that gives us an idea of England.
When you ask to an English person if it is true that they drink tea at 5 o’ clock in the afternoon, they look at you in a funny way! That’s because they drink tea at every hour of the day, perpetually! When they’re only with one foot inside home, still with their coat on, they turn the kettle on to make a good cup of tea. If you are happy, sad, don’t feel well, had an horrible day, want to celebrate something, a cup of tea is always right. As it is habit here, I offered a cup of tea to an electrician who came at home to fix a socket. When he finished drinking it, I asked him if he enjoyed it, since I’m not English. He replied me with an English saying: “As long as it is warm and wet, it is fine”.